Ranger Challenge Champions!
Maranatha’s Army ROTC once again took first place in the Ranger Challenge competition held at Fort McCoy, Wis.Ranger Challenge is an annual two-day competition held at Ft. McCoy, Wis. Schools across the midwest bring teams to compete.
The recent victory marks the fifth consecutive year; bringing their winning total to seven of the last nine years’ events.
This year the opening ceremony kicked off the weekend Friday afternoon. The team immediately moved to the obstacle and confidence course events, testing both physical and mental strength and endurance.
The confidence course was new to this year’s competition, heavily focused on the team’s ability to work together. To add an element of difficulty, the event took place in the dark. Cadets navigated the obstacles using only the dim glow of their flashlights. Still, MBU took first in both the obstacle and confidence course events. The final event of the night was the written knowledge exam. The team started strong, taking first place in the opening three events.
Saturday events began at 6:00 a.m. Teams had until 3:00 p.m. to complete five events—weapons assembly, rope-bridge, call for fire, objective assault, and a battlefield medical challenge. All were held at different points within a three-kilometer square area. Teams ran from event to event, weighed down by a 30-pound rucksack, a tactical vest, ropes for the rope-bridge event, and a 9-pound rubber replica weapon–navigating with a map and compass to each site.
Cadet MSIIs (sophomores) Thomas Graham and Rob Kile were both selected to assemble the M4 Carbine, 240B machine gun, and the M249 squad automatic weapon from a box of mixed parts. The cadets earned first place for their team in the event.
The next event was an objective assault challenge that consisted of a Keep in Memory (KIMs) test, a squad movement to contact, grenade throws, and the assembly and placement of a claymore mine.
After the objective assault event, the team moved to the call for fire event, completed by senior MSIV cadet Bryan Crane.
The fourth event of the day was the medical challenge. The team assessed a casualty, placed him on a litter, and carried him 500 meters before calling up a 9-line medevac. The 9-line medevac is used in combat situations to call in medical support to evacuate wounded personnel.
Saturday’s events ended with the one-rope bridge. Using a 200-foot rope, five 10-foot ropes, and 7 carabineers, the team maneuvered over a 90-foot wide river. After successfully completing the bridge challenge, the team finished with a sprint to their last checkpoint.
Their compiled time to complete all five challenges was added as a sixth event. MBU handily beat all other teams by more than an hour.
The last and most grueling event of the competition was the ruck march, as it has been every year. In previous years the distance has been 10 kilometers. This year, the teams were instructed to march through eight checkpoints until they either reached the end or five hours expired, but the course distance was not revealed.
MBU completed the march first with a time of 4 hours, 12 minutes. Out of 25 teams, only seven finished the grueling 15-mile course.
Maranatha won the overall competition and took first place in six out of the ten events. Through rigorous preparation, MBU’s “Rock Solid” Ranger Challenge team plans to continue its winning tradition in years to come.
Article by Cadet (MSIV) Tim Kile
Feature photo courtesy of U.S. Army Cadet Command Flickr